General & Staff Officers of the 3rd Division of Maryland Militia, Sept 1814.

The following are the names and positions of the staff who served under Major General Samuel Smith (1752-1839) in the Third Division of Maryland Militia during the defense of Baltimore, August – November 1814.

Isaac McKim (1775-1838)  Aide-de-Camp.  a native of Baltimore was a prominent shipping and business merchant  who served as General Smith’s aide-de-camp (Chief-of-Staff) coordinating  his division staff. He later served as Director of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (1827-1831) and three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1823-1838).He is buried with his wife in Old St. Paul’s Cemetery, Baltimore.

Edward Patterson (1789-1865) Aide-de-Camp. Served under McKim as aide-de-camp assisting to coordinate the staff duties. He was the brother of Elizabeth Patterson who married Jerome Bonaparte. Brother of Napoleon Bonaparte of France.

Jonathan Meredith (1785-1872)  Division Inspector. His family emigrated to Philadelphia  c. 1750 from Herefordshire, England and settled in Baltimore as an attorney. Jonathan’s duties as Division Inspector was to inspect, investigate and reports on all matters affecting the Division’s efficiently, discipline, and welfare. He is buried with his wife Hannah Haslett in the Westminster Churchyard, Baltimore.

William Bates (1787-1871) Assistant Adjutant General. A graduate of Rhode Island Brown University in 1810, moved to Baltimore as lawyer and served as military administrative officer to Isaac McKim responsible for procedures affecting personnel and procurement records. In 1820 he returned to Wareham , Massachusetts in state government. Died November 8, 1871.

Robert Patterson (17_- 18_) Assistant Division Inspector. Unknown bio.

Jeremiah Sullivan (17__-18__) Division Quarter Master. Unknown bio.

John Smith (17__-18__) Volunteer Aid. Unknown bio.

Nicholas Price……….Special Judge Advocate. Unknown bio.

Robert Holland………Secretary to the General. Unknown bio.

Brigade Commanders

Brig. General John Stricker…………..3rd Brigade, Baltimore City

Brig. General Tobias E. Stansbury…11th Brigade, Baltimore County

Brig. General Thomas M. Forman….1st Brigade, Harford & Cecil County

Source: Baltimore City Archives (Maryland State Archives), War of 1812 Papers, RG 22.

Published in: on March 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm  Comments Off on General & Staff Officers of the 3rd Division of Maryland Militia, Sept 1814.  

Reminiscences of Thomas Beacham (1796-1878): 27th Maryland Regiment at North Point, 1814

“America has thus secured a character and standing among the nations of the earth she never would have obtained had it not been for the late war [of 1812].”

In the years following the War of 1812, Baltimore’s  Old Defenders, had resumed their individual livelihoods, while others took advantage of having served in the war to obtain US government bounty lands in the mid-west. Among those was Thomas Beacham who served for 90 days as a private in Captain Peter Pinney’s 27th Maryland Regiment at the Battle of North Point. In 1817 he left Baltimore and settled in Xenia, Ohio, where he married Elizabeth Butler on November 7, 1826. He followed his remaining years as an ordained minister. On June 25, 1847 Beacham wrote his reminiscences about his role at Baltimore. In 1852/55 he received 120 acres of land in the new state of Ohio, Queen County (1803). He died in 1878 at the age of 74 years in Xenia, Ohio.


Reminiscences of Rev. Thomas Beacham

“….Our spades and shovels were employed in throwing up breast-works – our guns were all put in order, and we then waited the approach of the enemy until Sabbath, the 11th of September. In the morning we performed military duty, we then went to the house of God, and from this we were called always before 12 o’clock. The balls of the Observatory [on Federal Hill] were run up – the alarm gun fire – the city was in commotion, weeping and lamentation were heard in almost every house: and yet, we found at our headquarters more men numbered than we had before. We took up our line of march, and encamped near the spot “where came the tug of war.” In the morning [Sept. 12], at sun rise, we formed a line, and then, for the first time, I heard those affecting words, “load with ball cartridges;” after which we marched about one mile, and drew up for battle….On the right we saw the 5th [Maryland] regiment and a few rifle companies, and on the left was the 39th and 51st regiments. Two or three companies, with one of the four little cannons [of the Baltimore Union Artillery], volunteered to go and hunt up the enemy, and they found them just in sight.

There a desperate battle ensued, every man did his best, and a young man by the name of Wells; belonging to the company of [1st Baltimore] Sharpshooters, stopped the career of [Maj. General Robert] Ross. They now came on in earnest. In front was an extensive old field, and after filling this, they flanked our left. The three little six pounders (one having been spiked) commence4d, and never were three little guns more constantly at work, not to better purpose, for the space of an hour.

The hardest of the battle was with the 27th, and the first musket was fired from that regiment. On my right, I saw the valiant young man, with trailed guns and quick step, advance forward at least 30 rods, while hundreds were calling, “come back!” “come back!” all to no purpose. He fired and this was the signal – in a moment the whole line was in a blaze. Brave boy, I doubt whether he ever returned to his home.

Our Adjutant, [James] Donaldson, the beginning of a great man, had just passed in the rear, advising the men to shoot low. Hit them, said he, about the middle. We fought hard until a retreat was called for, and forty-two boys and two old men were killed in the company to which I belonged, (Captain Pinney’s.) We rallied again, with the 6th and other forces, about two miles from the city. We were now willing for another trial, but were soon ordered in front of the entrenchment. The 27th and 5th [regiments] were allowed to sleep at home that night, and the next morning, while rallying at headquarters, the sound of the first bomb saluted our ears.

Undaunted we marched out, and although thirty-three years have passed away, I have not forgotten the feeling caused by the loud cheer from the soldiers in the entrenchment, as the little 27th passed away to take our position in front. This day we were looking every moment for the onset which was to decide the fate of the city, but it came not. At night we drew nearer the entrenchment, and enjoyed all the comforts of a dark, rainy night, enlivened by the rocket’s blaze, and the dismal roar of the bomb. They had been at work all day and all night, and we could witness the truth of that patriotic sentiment, which a Baltimorean will always lobe and admire.

“The rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”In the morning we heard with astonishment, the enemy had fled to their ships… We mustered three months; sometimes walking as sentinels at the six gun battery [known as Battery Babcock on the Ferry Branch]. Our city was kept in peace and safety; some said the Lord would keep it so, and so he did. Baltimore was then almost as distinguished for soldiers of the cross of Christ as soldiers of the musket. I have never seen any history of the battle of North Point; these few particulars are from memory, and in the main are true. My home is in the west, yet I love Baltimore still.”


Source: The Battle of Patapsco Neck, Sept. 1814: Reminiscences (Unpublished, 2009, 172 pp. Scott Sheads).

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 12:33 am  Comments Off on Reminiscences of Thomas Beacham (1796-1878): 27th Maryland Regiment at North Point, 1814  

First Company of Maryland Pikemen, 1807…“All able bodied young men…”

In the late summer of 1807 following the HM Frigate Leopard naval encounter with the US Frigate Chesapeake on June 22nd, off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, that prompted a near declaration of war with England, the United States and her militia prepared for a conflict that came later with a declaration of war on June 18, 1812.
One of the unusual companies raised in Baltimore was the First Company of Maryland Pikemen commanded by Robert Goodloe Harper, a prominent lawyer who later served as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General John Stricker at the Battle of North Point (Sept. 1814).
Unlike infantry companies who were trained to the use of musket and bayonet, pike-men or lansquenets as they were known in Europe during the Middle Ages, utilized a long 10-25 foot wooden tapered pole with an iron spearhead affixed that exhibited numerous advantageous as a defensive weapon. Against cavalry attacks they were more cost efficient to produce than the short bayonet – having a longer reach with the help of a strong rope that went through a ring near the tip – thus it could be pulled upwards from the base held by the ground in the face of cavalry or advancing infantry at close quarters. It is adapted to many citizens who could not otherwise afford the $20 for a musket, cartridge box, belts, and other necessary accoutrements in carrying a firearm – in all the pike proved a decided superiority.
For artillery defense the usage of pike was indispensable. If enemy cavalry sable or infantry bayonet penetrated to the site of a cannon, the cannon is lost – no cavalry would attempt forcing a body of pikemen, while infantry, the great length of the pike would ultimately win in the contest of “tug of war.”
While the idea of pikes were utilized onboard warships against boarding operations and at fixed fortifications like Fort McHenry, where pikes were used, no records of a company of pikemen were found during the War of 1812 in Maryland.
As for the First Company of Maryland Pikemen in 1807 their existence was not long and soon disbanded. Such companies would have proved a strong defensive phalanx in defending Baltimore’s Hampstead Hill had the British army made the attempt to assault on September 13, 1814. As late as 1815 a Baltimore citizen asked, Would it not be practicable, and highly expedient to raise a force of 2000 men of colour, in this city, to act as pikemen?
Sources: “On the Use of a Pike,” Federal Gazette (Baltimore), July 27, 1807; “Military Hints,” American & Commercial Daily Adv., February 11, 1815; “First Company of Maryland Pikemen,” Federal Gazette, July 27,1807.

Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 1:38 am  Comments Off on First Company of Maryland Pikemen, 1807…“All able bodied young men…”  

American Prisoners taken at Battle of North Point, Sept.12, 1814

On September 17, 1814 a letter from 29 American prisoners held on board His Britannic Majesty’s frigate Havanna was forwarded to Major General Samuel Smith in hopes of being assisted in their present situation. The letter has been modified for clarity.


On Board H.B.M. frigate Havanna    September 17, 1814.


We had the misfortune to be captured in the affair of Monday last at Bear Creek and were on Tuesday brought on board this ship where we are detained as prisoners of War. Having had the honor of some communication with the commanding officers are of opinion an exchange may be obtained for us provided immediate application is made for that purpose which we have no doubt will be promptly attended to on the part of our countrymen so soon as they shall learn that we are in captivity & distressed (not one of us having a change of rainment, a blanket or cent of money – some have no coat others no vests or shoes). Should not an immediate arrangement be made for our benefit, we expect to be sent to England, in which case a majority of us would inevitably fall a sacrifice for want of necessary comforts.

We pray an immediate attention may be paid to our situation by a flag of truce which would be expected on our part. An should an exchange unfortunately not be effected, that we may be permitted to receive a supply of clothing, bedding & stores from our families – or from the [Baltimore] Committee of Supplies. Several of us being already very unwill we fear confinement by fever which will be certain death on our situation.

In full hope of speedy deliverance we are with due respect, Etc.

Independent Company 5th Regiment M.M. Thomas Bailey, Talbot Jones, Edward Murray, Frederick Seyler, William Jenkins.

Independent Blues: F.M. Willis, George Heidelback, William Lively, Richard Lawson, John Huzza.

[First Baltimore] Sharp Shooters, 1st Rifle Battn. – Thomas G. Prettyman, John Howard.

Patriot Company, 5th Regiment – Benjamin Meredith.

United Volunteers, 5th Regiment – Henry W. Gray, John G. Poug.

Union Volunteers – George Collins (wounded).

Light Blue, 5th Regiment – Henry Suter.

Mechanical Comapny, 5th Regiment – John Redgrove.

Capt. Deem’s Co., 51st Regiment – Andrew Miller.

Capt. Rogers Co., 51st Regiment – John Kepler.

Capt. Peters Co., 51st Regiment – Morgan Carson.

Capt. Smiths Co.,  51st Regiment – Adam Miller.

Capt. Kennedy’s Co., 27th Regiment – Andrew Cole

Capt. Edes Co., 27th Regiment – Peter Stedham.

Capt. Dillon’s Co., 27th Regiment – Patrick B. Powell.

Capt. Kennedy’s Co., 27th Regiment – John Fordyce (Vol. from Philadelphia)

39th Regiment – William Baltzell.

Capt. Dobbin’s Co., 39th Regiment  – Lewis Baltzell.

Capt. Schwartzour’s Co., 27th Regiment – Ephraim Nash.


Source: Samuel Smith Papers, Reel 2, Cont. 2-3, Library of Congress.

Published in: on December 21, 2011 at 1:29 am  Comments Off on American Prisoners taken at Battle of North Point, Sept.12, 1814  

August 1814: In Want of: Muskets vs. Rifles

On August 15, 1814 in a letter to Lt. Colonel Edward Lloyd, 9th Cavalry District of “Wye House” Maryland Eastern Shore,  Brigadier General William Henry Winder newly appointed commander of the 10th Military District (Maryland. District of Columbia to the Rappannock River (Va.,) on the subject of the want of rifles for the various companies in his district  gave the following:

“There are several rifle companies of this district without arms at all fit for service & since I have received the command of the 10th Military District I have made application to procure them rifles but the number of that arms on hand in the public stores is not sufficient for the supply of the recruits for the regular rifle regiments and the Secretary of War is therefore unable to draw from the stock  given his opinion “that muskets would be much better and more effective for your purpose than rifles,” assigning the accuracy of aim which renders them servicable; the greater range of the musket; the more rapid fire of the latter; it is lighter; requires cleaning less frequently and is adapted to different classes of movements. The advantage of the bayonet is also refered to. Supposses Maryland can supply muskets; if she cannot he will endeavor to supply them from the stores of the United States.”

The want of rifles prompted the two companies of the 1st Battalion of Maryland Riflemen under Major William Pickney, Sr. to enter the Bladensburg battle with only muskets and not the popular arms their battalion name emplies. Given the excited state of military affairs with the expected arrival of a large British invasion fleet and the mobilization of the militia and distribution of arms and supplies many militia were withoutout arms and in the end a want of disciplined resistance to the British on the field of battle.  

Source: William H. Winder Papers, Maryland Historical Society

Published in: on December 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm  Comments Off on August 1814: In Want of: Muskets vs. Rifles  

Division Orders, Third Division, M.M., August 19, 1814.

On August 19, 1814 British naval and military forces landed at Benedict, Maryland on the Patuxent River and began their march towars Upper Marlboro and finally Washington. D.C.

The enemy have appeared in great force off the mouth of the Potomac, their movements appear to be up the bay. Orders have been issued from the President of the United States directing the third brigade to be called into federal service. Therefore ordered, that the whole brigade be held in readiness for actual service, that they parade at 4 o’clock this day, completely armed and equipped.

The quarter masters of the respective regiments, will draw their cartridges, and every box will be filled upon the ground. The men for the present will quarter at their respective homes. The reveille will beat at gun firing every morning when the regiments will assemble and train by regiment until 8 o’clock; they will again assemble at 4 o’clock, and train until seven o’clock.

On the alarm guns being fired, the regiments will meet on their respective parade grounds, and await further orders. The Third Brigade is now in the pay of the United States, in service subject to the articles of war.

By ordered. MAJ. GEN. SMITH

Isaac McKim, First Aid de Camp, 3rd division, M.M.

Published in: on August 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm  Comments Off on Division Orders, Third Division, M.M., August 19, 1814.  

Quartering the Militia at Baltimore, September 1814

On August 19, 1814 when the British expeditionary forces landed at Benedict, Maryland General Orders were sent out by Major General Samuel Smith and consequently to those neighboring states of Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania to come to Washington and Baltimore’s defense. With the capture of Washington on August 24, it became apparent the next tarket was Baltimore, thus many of the arriving militia halted at Baltimore and camps were established within a ten mile radius of the city. In Baltimore it soon became a logistical problem to find quarters for the militia, including those from outlying Maryland counties. Major Paul Bentalouu, Quartermaster General stated that “fifteen thousand have assembled and many more are coming in daily.”  

The Third Division Quartermaster of Baltimore Major Jeremiah Sullivan, obtained the shelter of  numerous ropewalks whose protective sheds, some 1,000 feet long could accomodate 500 troops  each. Every available building including fifty-one storied warehouses and dwellings were utilized along the docks, even within the unfinished granite walls of the catholic cathedral rising up on Howard’s Hill (now the Basilica of the Assumption). Here are a few examples: 60th Virginia Regiment – Hadsgis Ropewalk; 56th Virginia Regiment – Piper’s Ropewalk; Pennsylvania Militia – Oliver’s Ropewalk; companies of the 36th, 38th and 14th U.S. Infantry were in tents on Hampstead Hill.

In addition the troops needed food, canteens, knapsacks, cooking kettles, musket cartridges all had to be procured locally. Many companies, some independently arriving from as faraway as Hagerstown, MD., Hanover, PA., and Wilmington, DE., were without muskets or adequte equipage. Within weeks after the Battle for Baltimore, militia companies continued to arrive who had to be accomodated. Such was the scene in Baltimore during the perilous days of September 1814. 

Sources: Samuel Smith Papers, Library of Congress, MSS18794, Reel 4, Cont. 5-6.




Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 12:59 am  Comments Off on Quartering the Militia at Baltimore, September 1814  

THE LAST “OLD DEFENDER” DEAD. Final Extinction of a famous War Association of Baltimore.

On December 17, 1888, Mr. James C. Morford, aged 98, died, the last member of the Old Defenders’ Association of Baltimore. His death marked the extinction of the famous Old Defenders’ Association, that was organized in 1842 with 1,259 members. It was the custom of the members to attend church in a body on the Sunday previous to each 12th of September, each member wearing a cockade and a piece of crape, the latter out of respect to the memory of the dead comrades. He was the only survivor who attended the anniversary of September 12th last.

During the Battle for Baltimore, September 12-14, 1814 he served as a private in Captain James Sterrett’s company of the First Baltimore Hussars and was present at the Battle of North Point.

Source: St. Louis Republic (Missouri), December 18, 1888; New York Times, September 13, 1888.

Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm  Comments Off on THE LAST “OLD DEFENDER” DEAD. Final Extinction of a famous War Association of Baltimore.  

Levi Claggett & John Clemm: Fallen Soldiers of Fort McHenry

In the aftermath of the bombardment of Fort McHenry, September 13-14, 1814, the Baltimore Patriot printed a obituary notice on two of the four defenders who had fallen during “the perilous fight.” The eloquence of the notice is an example of the words and expressions of those who had fallen during the conflict in the War of 1812.


This afternoon, at 4 o’clock, the Baltimore Artillery Company of Fencibles, under the command of Captain [Joseph Hopper] NICHOLSON, will parade for the purpose of rendering the last tribuite of respect to Lieutenant LEVI CLAGGETT, & Sergeant JOHN CLEMM, who fell in defence of this city and their country’s rights, at Fort M’Henry, during the bombardment of that fortress by the enemy.

To have fallen in such a cause, would have, of itself, entitled the memory of the dead to respect and sympathy. But, they needed no such adventitious circumstance to excite the most poignant regret at thier untimely departure. They formed a prominent part of the rich price, which was paid for victory and safety. In civil life, they were men of the most amiable manners, honorable principles, and respectable standing in society. In the hour of danger, they evinced ardent and collected courage. Their friends lament their loss, with sorrow not loud but deep. May the reflection, that they died in a cause and at a time, when every tonque was eloquent in their praise; that they departed in the path of honor; that the gratitude of their countrymen will embalm their names in every heart, afford to the bereaved of their connections and friends, the only alleviation for such a loss.

Their brethren in arms will cherish their memory, with affectionate care. They sleep on the soldier’s bed, the bed of honor; and while their loss may call forth the manly tear of fraternal regret, their example will animate to deeds, such, as living, they would have approved and aided.

SOURCE: Baltimore Patriot, September 21, 1814.

Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 3:16 pm  Comments Off on Levi Claggett & John Clemm: Fallen Soldiers of Fort McHenry  

Jean Michel (Michael) Jamart (1780-1860)– An Old Defender of Baltimore

On February 5, 1860, Michael Jamart, a native of Paris, France died at the age of eighty, in Baltimore, one of the Old Defenders’ of Baltimore of 1814.

Mr. Jamart arrived in Maryland onboard the French seventy-four ship-of-the-line L’Eole in 1806, the ship having been nearly dismasted in a gale off the Virginia seaboard. The ship was towed to Baltimore from Annapolis, where under the direction of a French official was condemned and sold at auction, her armament of cannon were stored in a Fell’s Point warehouse. In 1813 the U.S. Government purchased the 18- and 36-pounder naval guns and mounted them at Fort McHenry, where they defied the British navy  during the War of 1812.

Mr. Jamart became an American citizen and enlisted in Captain Philip B. Sadtler’s rifle company, the Baltimore Yagers, 5th Maryland Regiment, who fought at the Battle of Bladensburg (August 24) and North Point (Sept. 12) in 1814.

After the war he became a “French Restorateur” at No. 40 Water Street near Gay, opposite the Exchange, offering “the delicacies of the French Restaurants.” As proprietor of the Exchange Coffee House, he continued his militia service as an officer with the Independent Blues until old age compelled him to decline his service.

He is buried in Greenmount Cemetery, Baltimore.

Source: Baltimore Patriot, September 9, 1830; The Sun, February 6, 1860.

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm  Comments Off on Jean Michel (Michael) Jamart (1780-1860)– An Old Defender of Baltimore